by Mark TarroJune 2014
Imagine you are a sales rep in a meeting with some key customers. A few minutes into the presentation, you begin to notice as they lean in when you touch on a specific topic or present solutions to challenges they are facing. Their eyes, posture, glances to one another, and questions indicate their interest and help you shape your messaging for the rest of the meeting.
With a rapidly changing social and digital landscape, the ways in which buyers interact with sales and seek out information have changed. The physical meeting has largely been replaced by digital communications over the Internet. How does sales reps know what customers are interested in, and how do they shape their message accordingly?
The good news is that today’s buyers are still “leaning in” to websites, digital assets, social networks, and blogs for more information. Every visit, registration, and download provides companies with cues about their interests called “digital body language.” The amount of available data and resultant insights are increasing in the business-to-business (B2B) world with form submissions, website visits, whitepaper downloads, and requests for additional information. With the right strategy, organizations can turn these insights into sales opportunities.What’s the right message? It depends.
The ability to harness each customer’s engagement level and product interests enables marketers to target the right message at the right time, and sales teams to make contact at the appropriate stage in the buying cycle.”
Buyers go through three stages: awareness, discovery, and validation. Today’s businesses must evaluate the changing buying cycle to ensure their business processes cater to how their customers want to do business. In order to deliver the right message to a targeted audience, it is important to continuously track the digital body language of your prospects and customers, and leverage this information throughout each stage of the buying cycle. Utilizing this information helps bridge the gap between marketing and sales so that both teams have an ongoing view into the customer’s progression through the buying cycle. Marketing can time and tune interactions and offers, helping progress a contact from awareness to discovery. Sales reps can have more targeted interactions with their customers when they can view all marketing-related activity—including topics and interests—within that account.Frequency vs. depth: interpreting the signals
Although it is important to know where our contacts have visited on the web, it is also imperative to understand the frequency and level of depth of each visit. Customers who visit the same page often are making their interest well known. However, can we as marketing and sales professionals say that someone who visited our website only once is less interested? Think of a time when you visited a website just once, but navigated through four layers of the site to find and download a white paper of interest. Each of these actions signals a different interest level and needs to be responded to differently. Based on what we learn about each type of buyer through their digital body language, we can shape our messaging and delivery to cater to the customer’s needs.Tuning the marketing-sales hand-off
Capturing digital body language in a B2B setting allows marketers to qualify their leads in a standard process before sending those leads to sales. Ranking and scoring leads based on their contact profile, as well as their engagement level, is key when qualifying leads. The ability to obtain granular information and specify time frames for each engagement further assures sales that the leads they are receiving fit their buying criteria. More importantly, qualifying leads based on their digital body language helps increase efficiency, accuracy, and customer engagement throughout the sales cycle.From lean in to opt-in
The digital world also offers a certain degree of anonymity. Is digital body language only useful for named website visitors and contacts? No; it allows marketers to evaluate what brought them to our site in the first place, identify content consumption patterns or trends, and structure future campaigns and determine which messaging to position at what time. It also provides marketers with the ability to re-shape their digital presence, offers, and assets to create more opt-in opportunities with a goal of associating a “face with a name” and using that information to provide content more in line with their interests.
Think back to your last face-to-face meeting. Chances are, two or three people were in the room for a total of 30 to 60 minutes. How many body language signals were visible in that meeting alone? Now think about an entire day. We can apply these same questions to the digital world. There is digital body language in every interaction and thousands of instances per minute. Marketing to a company needs to be approached the same way. When you observe the digital body language of multiple contacts at a company, it gives a more complete view of the company’s buying stage and engagement level. In a sales cycle, this could even help the sales team identify potential influencers and champions within an account.
Digital body language is a powerful tool for both modern marketing and sales. The ability to harness each customer’s engagement level and product interests enables marketers to target the right message at the right time, and sales teams to make contact at the appropriate stage in the buying cycle. By collecting, evaluating, and acting on digital body language, your marketing and sales teams will execute more precise and targeted engagement cycles with your buyers.
Photography by Shutterstock
Mark works out of Boston, MA. Prior to joining Oracle, he led Alumni Relations and Communications efforts at Bishop Hendricken High School. In this role, Mark led public relations and marketing initiatives to involve more alumni and enhance the annual fund. He also has experience in the food service industry doing marketing and operations research with Schlotzsky's in Austin, TX. Mark received a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Pepperdine University and earned his MBA from Baylor University.